I had the great pleasure of seeing Patti Russo in Tunbridge Wells and then again in Guildford, as part of her UK Tour, with The SAS Band. SAS (Spike’s All Stars) is the brainchild of Spike Edney, who plays keyboards and is Musical Director for Queen. On Sunday’s bill are Graham Gouldman (10CC), who wrote a string of hits including “Bus Stop” for The Hollies, Mel C of the Spice Girls, Cheryl Baker (Bucks Fizz) and Madeline Bell (Blue Mink). Last night in Guildford we were blessed with Kiki Dee, Chris Thompson (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band) and Queen’s Roger Taylor. With a band of professionals to die for, The SAS Band must be seen on tour this week in the UK. They rarely play public gigs so check the dates below and don’t miss out.
THIS Tuesday 8th December – Portsmouth Guildhall
Saturday 12th December – Pavillion Hall, Buxton – Patti Russo solo
I first met Spike perhaps 10 years ago at the ancient village of Chiddingfold in Surrey, after my sister Sheila invited me to the gig. It turned out that Sheila’s sister in law used to do Spike’s book-keeping and I went along not really knowing this. I remember meeting him afterwards backstage and having no idea who he was! 🙂 oops ! Spike organises a complex and extremely professional show, having brought together a great list of talents over the years from Cozy Powell, Brian May, Leona Lewis, Jeff Beck, Toyah Wilcox, Fish, Annie Lennox – the list goes on and on. Perhaps this is not that surprising as he is Queen’s Musical Director and his skill at bringing explosive talents together is unrivalled. A rare skill.
Everyone is on top form. Madeline Bell was simply fabulous at 73 years young, doing a sublime version of “I heard it on the Grapevine” alongside other classics. We met at both aftershows and I must say what a great bundle of joy she is. The surprise of the night at Tunbridge Wells was Cheryl Baker who performed a superb version of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”. Graham Gouldman of 10CC delivered with ease some of the many hits he wrote “For Your Love”, “Dreadlock Holiday”, “Rubber Bullets” etc. Mel C surprised with a great version of “One Vision” alongside the Spice Girls classic “Too Much” – it’s rare to write a Christmas hit that is not cheesy and this is one of the few. Spike led one of their legendary mashups of 29 classic riffs, beautifully arranged into one seamless whole with guitar supremo Jamie Moses and the band.
At Guildford, Kiki Dee does a superb duet on “Don’t go breaking my heart” and “I got the music in me” and a new Queen song, showing artists half her age how it’s done. I was smitten the first time I heard “Amoureuse” as a pale youth of 15 years old and still have the records to this day. Queen’s Roger Taylor smashed it with “Radio Gaga” and a brilliant “Voodoo Chile” amongst other pieces.
Of course I particularly enjoyed Patti Russo’s performances, having had the honour of working with Patti a couple of times myself. She performed her new release “When it Comes to Love” amongst many other favourites and a jaw dropping version of “Uptown Funk”, which puts Mark Ronson in the shade. Last night’s show finished with a superb version of “Imagine” – a song with a timeless message for our age.
Contact us at The Academy of Rock to discuss corporate events with Patti, from New York to London to Milan and anywhere besides.
Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Check our books “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll”, “Punk Rock HR” and The Music of Business” out on Amazon. Great Christmas gifts!! His new book “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise” is available to order at Bloomsbury.